Wonderland and the Imperial Monkeys
April 29, 1999 Party on the Plaza, Houston TX
By HotBands Editor Pat Ferris
I met Carolyn Wonderland and her band, The Imperial Monkeys, at a benefit concert in Houston a couple of weeks ago and was so impressed with the musicianship of them that I instantly became a fan and caught every show they've played in Houston over the last 2 weeks.
Party on the Plaza is a local event in Houston for the last few years that draws thousands of people every Thursday evening during the summer months for Nationally recognized music acts, and some of the top local talent in Houston. Carolyn draws an enormous crowd and has been a regular at Party on the Plaza for the last several years.
Known around Houston and East Texas as "The Best Known Unknown", Carolyn Wonderland and the Imperial Monkeys have a reputation as the hardest working band from Texas, with four CD's and a schedule of touring nationally for the last 7 years for over 6 months of each year opening for national acts like Jimmy Vaughan. In 1998, Carolyn Wonderland and the Imperial Monkeys were voted by the Houston Press for several awards including: Local musician of the Year, Song of the Year (Blue Lights off their Play with Matches CD), Best blues band, Best female vocalist, Best songwriter(s), and Best Guitarist (Carolyn's lead guitarist, Eric Dane). She has had interest from several major record labels and is likely to be the next national act based out of Houston.
Her show at Party on the Plaza started at 6pm in 90°+ temperatures, but that didn't seem to bother the band, who had rolled into Houston that morning from performing at the LMNOP Jazz festival in New Orleans the night before. She turned up the heat on the audience with two sets, belting out mind-blowing vocals, trumpet, and dual lead guitar solos with virtuoso guitarist and significant other, Eric Dane. The set was closed out with a guitar and vocal solo by Carolyn, followed by a mob of fans seeking autographs, and buying CD's.
Carolyn and her entire band are some of the nicest people, and humblest musicians I've ever met, not only taking time to say hello to every person that spoke with them but shrugging off praise and compliments with comments like "Gee...thanks, shucks...we're nothin but a dumb 'ol rock-n-roll band". They are the type of people that make you feel good whether you are listening to them or meeting them in person.
HotBands looks forward to many more CD's, and expects to see them as a national act sometime in the near future.